Vigorous physical activity (exercise) for three hours a week (less than half an hour a day) can reduce the risk of psoriasis by 25-30%, a research says.
It would be wise to understand this word vigorous properly. Vigorous doesn’t mean that you have to lift too much weight or you have to run fiercely. It simply means lifting light weight (as per your comfort level) with more repetitions or running at a comfortable moderate speed, but for longer time.
Regular exercise helps in Psoriasis healing
Along with positive changes in your diet and lifestyle, regular exercise helps in psoriasis healing in a holistic way. But, the majority of people find it hard to incorporate any physical exercise in their daily routine. When you are dealing with a disease like psoriasis, ignoring physical exercise is too bad a choice for you because:
- Regular Exercise promotes a healthy immune system. Psoriasis is an autoimmune disorder and any activity that can strengthen your immune system is highly appreciable.
- Obesity can trigger your psoriasis. On an average, people with psoriasis are 7% heavier than non psoriasis people. Regular exercise can help you maintain your weight and hence manage your psoriasis.
Also Read: Obesity and Psoriasis
- Regular exercise helps in digesting the food we eat. Improved digestion means better body metabolism, enhanced absorption of nutrients (from the food we eat), no constipation and proper elimination of body wastes.
Also Read: Constipation can trigger Psoriasis
- Vigorous exercise will help your body sweat. Sweating is a natural way by which skin eliminates toxins from your body.
- When you exercise, your body stimulates the production of chemicals called Endorphins. Endorphins are positive mood enhancers and they make you feel cheerful and high in self esteem, eventually reducing the stress and anxiety level.
- Psoriasis and obesity have inflammation in common. Regular exercise reduces inflammation by promoting weight loss. Reduced body inflammation would definitely relieve psoriasis symptoms.
Why people with psoriasis avoid exercise
Most of the people with psoriasis do believe that exercise is a good thing to add in their daily routine. But, a person with psoriasis can hesitate in exercising because:
- He/she can have a reservation that exercise will flare up psoriasis because exercise means rubbing of your skin (and psoriasis flakes) with your clothing and sweating in areas like abdominal folds and under the breast.
- Secondly, exercising in public can be an uncomfortable situation to deal with. Exercising in half sleeve or sleeveless tops (and t shirts) and gym shorts can make others to stare at your psoriasis patches. To avoid people’s stare and embarrassment, a lot of people (having psoriasis) prefer to stay indoors and gradually this behavior make them isolated from the society. Such a withdrawing behavior can lower down the self confidence to make the psoriasis worse.
How to exercise in an intelligent way
Below points should be considered to enjoy all the benefits of exercise skipping any negative issues:
- Hardcore sports games like football or basketball should not be considered as an alternate to exercise because these games would make you prone to any serious injury which can trigger psoriasis.
- Lifting too much weight during gym should be avoided because it can cause joint pains, especially if you have psoriasis arthritis. Opt for light weights with more repetitions.
- Should wear loose clothing to lessen friction between skin and clothes. Areas more likely to be irritated should be moisturized enough with lubricants/oils. Aloe Vera gel is a good option. You can also use sweat absorbent powder in areas like the groin and under breasts. Also, these days we have fabrics with excellent moisture management properties that can help absorb sweat readily to make you feel comfortable.
- Start with gentle activities like light jogging or brisk walk for a proper warm up and then go for a high strength workout.
- Choose the exercise/activity that appeals to you. If you enjoy your workout, then chances of turning it into a regular activity are higher.
- After work out (exercise), take a gentle shower. Warm water shower is preferred. Post workout shower is very crucial in case of swimming because chlorine present in pool water can be harmful for your skin.
Various exercise options available
As mentioned earlier, it is very important to choose the exercise/set of exercises that you enjoy doing. Below is a list of most common exercise activities:
- Jogging – It is one of the oldest and most preferred way of workout worldwide. You can avail all the benefits of an exercise program from jogging. You can use headphone/ear phones listening to your favorite music while jogging. Also, if you don’t like going outside for jogging, just choose a spacious corner of your home to do it while watching your favorite movie on your laptop or TV.
- Brisk walk – In case you have joint problems or other health issues and you can’t opt for jogging, then brisk walk is for you. Brisk means active and energetic. Hence, make sure you walk quick enough. Brisk walk means walking at a faster rate than your normal walking speed. Breathing higher is a sign of adequate brisk walk speed. Because if you are not breathing hard, it means your walking speed is not up to the mark. Pumping your arms do help raise your walking speed and make your brisk walk efficient.
- Stairs climbing – If you don’t like jogging, then stairs climbing can be an awesome option for you. Akshay Kumar, a leading Bollywood actor, who is a trained martial art practitioner and renowned for his fitness, has revealed that he makes up for jogging by stairs climbing exercise as he doesn’t like jogging
- Bicycling – Bicycling is also a popular way to workout which can be enjoyed by people of all ages, from young kids to elderly people. Bicycling is a low impact exercise and hence, it causes less stress on your body muscles. It is far more thrilling and adventurous than jogging or walking.
- Dancing – Dancing is one of the fastest growing art form worldwide. Regular dance classes can help you in maintaining your weight, improving your digestion and make you feel cheerful and happy.
- Going to a gym – Join a gym and you will be exposed to a whole bunch of equipments to work out with. Don’t focus too much on muscle building exercises, just try to make your body move as much as possible with enough sweating.
Exercise tips for people with Psoriasis arthritis
If you have psoriasis arthritis, then even this idea of exercise can make you feel pain. I can understand that. Exercises involving prolonged standing or walking are not your cup of tea. But exercise can increase the strength of muscles around your joints and can improve the flexibility of your joints. Hence, exercise is good for you.
Exercise programs in water can appeal you because the buoyancy of water can lessen the stress on your hips and knees but allow you to gain strength. Apart from that, there are a number of other exercises that can help you like range of motion exercises and strength training. Ask your doctor or physiotherapist for that.
If you are dealing with any heart disease- high blood pressure, diabetes or any other heart problem, then you should talk to your doctor and choose the safe exercises accordingly. The same advice is applicable for elderly people also.
Just as smoking, high intake of alcohol and obesity triggers psoriasis; similarly exercise helps in psoriasis healing. Regular exercise helps in psoriasis healing by accelerating the recovery process. But, at the same time, you should avoid overdoing. Listen to your body and exercise intelligently to get the best results.
Read more: Alcohol and Psoriasis